J&J-partnered Contineum jumps in IPO queue

18 Mar 2024
Phase 2Phase 1IPOLicense out/in
Contineum Therapeutics has thrown its hat into the ring for a spring public debut. The neurology and inflammation-focused company filed for an IPO last week to fund clinical trials of its two lead programmes, including a multiple sclerosis (MS) and depression candidate that’s partnered with Johnson & Johnson.
Formerly Pipeline Therapeutics, Contineum joins Boundless Bio in the IPO queue, which was the first biotech in March to signal its public interest following the rapid-fire offerings of late January and early February. The mid-stage oncology company has yet to set terms for its offering.
Also in line for public offerings are several biotechs seeking sub-$30 million debuts: Aprinoia Therapeutics, Lirum Therapeutics, and Jyong Biotech.
MS, depression in the pipeline
Contineum’s clinical pipeline comprises two oral small molecules: LPA1R antagonist PIPE-791, and M1 muscarinic receptor antagonist PIPE-307.
The former is a brain penetrant compound that’s completed Phase I studies for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). With the IPO proceeds, Contineum expects to start this year a Phase Ib PET imaging trial to measure the relationship of pharmacokinetics to lung and brain receptor occupancy, which will help inform dosing for Phase II trials for each indication.
Johnson & Johnson has an exclusive, worldwide licence to the latter candidate, which is in development for relapsing/remitting MS and depression.
Last year Contineum received $50 million upfront for rights to PIPE-307 and is eligible for up to $1 billion in milestones, plus low-double digit to high-teen tiered royalties. The company also received a $25 million equity investment from the US pharma’s venture capital arm, JJDC.
Muscarinic receptor modulators have gained steam as of late for their potential in mood disorders, particularly schizophrenia. For more, see KOL Views Q&A: Leading psychiatrist sees a muscarinic revolution coming in schizophrenia and beyond.
“To our knowledge, PIPE-307 is the most clinically advanced selective M1R antagonist in development,” the company said in the filing.
Contineum is in charge of a Phase II trial of PIPE-307 in relapsing/remitting MS; IPO proceeds are expected to help the biotech wrap up the study.
Johnson & Johnson plans to start a Phase II trial this year of the candidate to treat depression.
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